It’s important to understand that high functioning autism is not an actual diagnosis and not even a medical term. But despite that, people casually use the name when they talk about individuals on a spectrum that can write, speak, and handle necessary life task. Preferably, they can live on their own.
People who often fall on this type of spectrum are living lives just like everybody else. Aside from that, they even have a higher functioning cognitive compared to others who are having the same condition. But how do people talk about and understand the situation? Why is there an anxiety issue on both having and treating the disorder?
“People who suffer from ambient anxiety have not developed an internal psychological and emotional barrier. Things they see and hear penetrate them to their core.” –Fran Walfish, PsyD
The difference of high functioning autism from other autism spectrum is the milder forms. Before this, only those severe cases tend to be diagnosed and treated. That’s the mere reason why Asperger’s become the most popular diagnosis as a whole. So when people came to realize that there’s a whole lot more about the autism spectrum, they begin to categorize all the cases as “autism spectrum disorders.” But other individuals still use the outdated terms such as Asperger’s because they somehow haven’t kept up with the numerous changes of the treatment.
Symptoms Of High Functioning Autism
Just like an individual on an autism spectrum, high functioning people still struggle with making eye contact and having consistent communication with others. Since socially interacting with different people can sometimes become very difficult, those who are high functioning have a feeling of anxiety. They have issues about social gatherings because, for them, the act of social activeness takes so much of their energies. People believe that OCD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression are the significant co-morbidities of high functioning autism. Meaning, each of these mental illnesses happens simultaneously at a particular time. Perhaps that’s due to the abnormalities in the serotonin production.
People with high functioning autism tend to be more aware of their situation. They can differentiate their state from others. With that, they get too anxious with interacting with people and become immensely depressed on their incapability to connect with someone. As a result, these individuals develop other forms of mental health issues. In some unfortunate events, they struggle to understand sarcasm and jokes from friends or families as well. In this sense, there’s a chance that they can appear more mature for their age, but the truth is they are just uncomfortable sticking around with a bunch of people. Honestly, they don’t understand what’s typically going on in social situations as a whole.
“Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes difficulties in many areas, with varying degrees of severity, most notably with social interaction and communication.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT said. But in other cases, most high function people with autism disorder still manage to complete a routine or task. These people’s restricted habits and rituals may appear odd to those around them, but it won’t matter. Because working the things they are comfortable doing can help these individuals to manage their anxious feelings better and comply with the sensory overload that they may be experiencing. So, therefore, their tantrums or meltdowns are normal.
There’s still no definite conclusion of how people get autism spectrum disorders. However, research already shows that individuals with ASD suffer from abnormalities in the particular region of the brain such as the frontal cortex and amygdala. These two sectors are responsible for cognitive processing and decision making, as well as emotions, memory, and survival. That’s the reason why people who are experiencing ASD struggle regulating their emotions, and therefore can’t control social situations.
Interventions And Treatments
According to John Cutrone, LMHC, MCAP, CAS, “Being diagnosed with Autism does not have not to impact you negatively. People with Autism can live fulfilling and meaningful lives. It is about learning the tools and skills that can help lead to success.” Luckily, there’s so much that we can do to manage autism spectrum disorders. But first, we have to understand that the condition is not something that people do not grow out of, nor it is something that requires an immediate solution. With significant social involvement, we can create a difference for these people with ASD. Interventions such as setting up occupational therapy, providing speech therapy, and encouraging applied behavior analysis are a good start. People can also promote social skill classes, psychotherapy for anxiety and depression, and engage in floortime activities. They can also help those people with ADS in relationship development intervention, or utilize picture exchange for much better communication.
There’s pretty much nothing to worry about ASD. As long as people work together in helping each other, handling social issues will become smooth and straightforward.